Graphic by Laurie

How can you find a box turtle of your own? As you know, the world has fewer and fewer safe places for wildlife. Most animals are on the verge of extinction due to pollution and habitat destruction. Many international communities and the United States have developed laws that try to hopefully safeguard the remaining wild animals of the world. C.I.T.E.S. is one such policy. It stands for Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Another is our own governmentís Endangered Species Act. Many States have their own set of regulations. It all boils down to the fact that we cannot just go out and collect or buy any turtle we want. There are laws protecting many of them. Often permits are required to keep, bred, sell, and transport reptiles. Many species of turtles and other animals wouldn’t be endangered and near extinction if it weren’t for the adverse effects humans have on their home ranges and very existence. These regulations were made to protect and help wild animals survive the onslaught of human activities. If we can’t personally help save wild animals, then we can at least not be part of the problem. For turtles this means:

Pet store turtles are often collected by the hundreds by people who often don’t feed or water them. They are sometimes packed together in such small containers that they can’t walk or even open their shells to let their legs out. Some pet stores give minimal care to reptiles to keep their overhead costs down. Buying wild caught turtles will only keep alive the cycle of collecting hundreds of wild turtles for the pet stores. Remember, the more you buy, the more will die. These turtles are often bought by impulse buyers who know very little about how to care for turtles. Often pet stores and impulse buyers view turtles as cheap, disposable pets. Box turtles donít make good pets for small children. They wonít play fetch the stick! A sad statistic is that many donít survive six months in captivity.

Insist on buying only captive bred turtles. These are turtles that are born at a turtle breeding farm and are already used to being in captivity. It usually will be a healthier turtle. Captive bred turtles are often available through mail order breeders. Addresses of mail order companies can be found in reptile magazines.

Another way to get a box turtle is through a local turtle and tortoise club. They often have specimens up for adoption. This is also a great place to get first-hand information on how to care for turtles. By joining a turtle club you help the cause of turtles in your area. Most clubs do a good job of education and conservation. Plus, you’ll meet others who are interested in box turtles.

In another section is an address list for magazines and clubs that have an interest in turtles. The only way to begin a journey is to take a step, and becoming a knowledgeable box turtle keeper is a journey, so go ahead and take that first step. Contacting a few of these resources will often lead you to other sources of information about box turtles.

Go to next chapter, Proper Housing.

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Disclaimer: Please use all information contained on this web site at your own risk. Last updated on December 30, 2010 .